Senator Evan’s comments and the future of Universities

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I am not the only one who found Senator Evans comments on Universities and funding earlier this week to be ‘a bit odd’. See Stephen Matchett here.

My earlier comments revolved around broader University reform. My suggestion is vertical separation. See here and here. Some of our vice-chancellors (who are all too well aware of the problems in our current model) are canvassing alternatives, but these tend to be based around some freeing up of undergraduate fees. See for example here (if the pay-wall beats you, Glyn Davis has a longer address here).

Stephen Matchett suggests some alternatives:

[Institutions] can go for growth outside Canberra’s control in the international and postgraduate markets, especially online, or they can reconfigure themselves as elite teaching but predominantly research institutions.

They can stuck with their existing market share but improve their circumstances by improving productivity, especially in teaching and administration.

Or they can muddle along complaining about Canberra and hoping that something turns up.

Agree! But the universities have been trying to grow outside Canberra’s control for years. They have been very successful in international student markets but they are still within Canberra’s reach (as shown by the visa change effects). They have also been trying to improve productivity – although methods and measures can be questioned. And there has been lots of muddling along. So I think it is time for the more radical option of reconfiguring the university system.

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